Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released to many lofty expectations.
Being director Gareth Edwards biggest project to date, he had a sizable budget for a film that had to be a financial success. More than that, he was helming the first spinoff project in the Star Wars franchise, a property with a notoriously rabid and protective fanbase.
Essentially, failure was not an option.
But the film opened to critical and box office success, was revered by fans, and firmly established that a Star Wars film does not have to focus on the Skywalker family in order to be acclaimed.
It was a relief to Edwards, but there was one aspect of the production that he still regrets.
He told the paper:
“I’ve not really sat and watched the film since the opening weekend, when Carrie was still with us. I just feel the whole thing was, to be honest, one big love letter to Carrie. What we’re doing with the entire movie is all building to that one moment [of the Death Star plans being handed to Princess Leia] where we hand the baton to her, to go off and make that film that inspired us all as kids. So it couldn’t have ended better from that point of view. It’s just sad – I was always thinking that I would get to meet her and talk to her at some point about it, and I never really met her properly. I walked past her once on the set of Episode VII, I was meeting some of the crew, and she walked past me, and I had a little fanboy freakout.
“When it came to our film, it went so late with that shot, trying to get it right, that Kathy took it down personally, on a laptop, and showed her. And initially Carrie apparently didn’t realise it was CGI, and wondered if it was footage which we had taken from somewhere else. Which was really reassuring for us. I thought, one day, either at the premiere, or one of these conventions, I’d get a chance to talk to her. And it’s really sad that it’s not going to get to happen.”
Carrie Fisher’s influence spread far and wide, and the news of her passing impacted so many people—whether they were close to her or not.
Edwards film certainly celebrated her legacy in the Star Wars canon as the entire plot built toward that moment, eventually feeding into A New Hope directly. But her untimely demise is something that will resonate with all Star Wars fans for a long, long time.
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Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star.